Monday, January 30, 2012

Come Join Me at Bubble Lounge in NYC on Feb 22!

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Are you in the NYC area? If so, come on down to Bubble Lounge in Tribeca on Wednesday, February 22nd from 7-9 PM and join me for an evening of live music and Champagne! I will be hosting the event and pouring 4 different Champagnes, paired with hors d'oeuvre and the smooth sounds of musician Anders Holst.



All guests will be entered to win a bottle of Champagne and a sabering lesson, courtesy of Bubble Lounge! RSVP to Amy Long  amy@twoshepsthatpass.com or 646.613.1101 to reserve your spot. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door (and they will go FAST!) Hope to see everyone there!



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fan and Guest Blogger Stacy Jethroe Checks Out The Champagne Diet Menu at POP

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When Champagne Dieter and bubble lover Stacy Jethroe pitched me this blog piece, I knew she'd have her work cut out for her. I mean, come on, she had to drive all the way to Pasadena to go sip Champagnes all night long and taste delicious food!?!? Now that's a labor of love if I've ever seen one. Stacy had a fabulous time at POP Champagne & Dessert Bar and owner Bob Earhart welcomed her with open arms. She gives us a glowing review of POP and their brand new Champagne Diet menu. Prepare to salivate!

by Stacy Jethroe

As a bubbly girl, few things bring me more joy than discovering new places to feed my bubbly ways. When I heard there was a place in Southern California that would give me my fix AND feed me healthy bites from The Champagne Diet ™ it was as if ambrosia had fallen from heaven just for me. In that “it was totally meant to be” way, I found myself headed down from San Francisco to LA for a business conference with just enough extra time to take in the blissful experience of POP Champagne & Dessert Bar.

Photo by Jessica Cardelucci

Nestled in Old Pasadena’s bustling shopping district, the first thing I noticed about POP was the bold, charcoal-colored hanging sign above its door, elegantly designed to let the name, well, pop. A cache of classic champagne bottles and magnums in the front windows herald to all who pass by the sparkly perfection to be found within. As we approached POP's open door on a breezy Thursday night, we heard the sound of live jazz beckoning.

Visually, everything about the intimate dining room let us know we wouldn’t leave without feeling as if we had been properly spoiled. Conceived by a Bay Area designer specifically for POP, the interior was warm, inviting, decadent but not overdone. Elegant chandeliers, walls the color of eggplant, a curved wooden bar complete with tall art deco mirror as the pièce de résistance. The room was comfortably full, the clientele mixed. Couples snuggled in over-sized, velvet-covered booths while friends conversed, enjoying appetizers and dessert after a day of local shopping. The jazz music that had called to us? Just one of the delightful extras provided each night at POP.

Photo by Jessica Cardelucci

We were seated at a table in the center of the restaurant and, after chatting for a bit with owner Bob Earhart about POP’s three year history and the bubbly he prefers (owner-produced Pierre Peters Grand Cru has his heart), we perused the menu to see what goodies were in store. A bespeckled cutie named Steven approached to take our order.

First, the important stuff. Champagne flights? Yes, please. My date went for the “Champagne Bubbles” collection which included true French varietals only: Collet Brut Aÿ, Charles Heidseick Brut Reserve Reims, and Bollinger Special Cuvée Aÿ. I had the “Pretty in Pink Bubbles”, an array of lovely pinks from different countries of origin: Latitude 50 Rosé Sekt Germany, Raventos Cava Reserva Rosado ’08 Penedes, D’Orfeuille Rosé Touraine. (I loved the last one so much I ordered another full glass of it.)

A wonderful mix of creative simplicity, POP’s dinner menu is embracing and unique; every item had our mouths watering upon sight alone. My friend enjoyed an assortment of gourmet deviled eggs to start (bacon-onion for the win) and the Truffle Mac n’ Cheese as a main course. Though not part of the lighter fare of the Champagne Diet, these two delicately rich and creamy dishes are longtime POP menu favorites. Personally, though, I couldn’t wait to try the food I’d really come for.

The Champagne Diet menu was introduced at POP on January 3rd, 2012 and has already been a great success with clientele. Mr. Earhart began testing the diet himself in early December and--holiday indulgence aside--has dropped several pounds already (the flatbread pizza is his go-to favorite). I began my meal with the heirloom tomato bruschetta. The flavor was so deliciously light and bright, the crostini perfectly toasted; a drizzle of sweet balsamic and banana leaf garnish completed the beauty of the dish.


Next came the Champagne Chicken. A variation on the Chef’s Monthly Special, it was just the right amount of food with just the right amount of seasoning. Served with sautéed spinach, mushrooms, and cherry heirloom tomatoes, the chicken was cooked absolutely perfectly {italicized} with a hint of rosemary to balance. Two chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert and I was ready to call it a night. Total calorie intake: 632 for dinner/225 champagne. Total enjoyment intake: 100 percent satisfaction.

With a champagne menu featuring an extensive list of Recoltant Manipulant (RM) bubbles, also known as grower-produced or “Farmer Fizz”, and a menu designed to satisfy decadent and diet-conscious taste buds alike, POP is my new favorite bubbly haunt. Cara, you’re on to something here. This Champagne Diet thing is taking over...one meal (and several glasses of sparkling) at a time.
________________________________________________________

Some fun, fizzy facts:

POP received two “Best Of” awards, Pasadena Magazine

Blogs featured on the POP website

Bob's Blog
Yash's Blog
Rafael's Blog


Friday, January 20, 2012

Champagne Girl of the Week: Charlotte Lynham of Bespoke RSVP

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There is something about Champagne that bonds those that love it. It's this underlying shared obsession that goes far beyond the drink itself. We understand the experience of Champagne. The ritual that goes along with popping a beautiful, effervescent bottle. The way it feels to pour a glass and watch it brim with pearly white bubbles. The sounds of two glasses clinking together and finding reasons to toast to all of the amazing things that make life so magical. 

When Charlotte and I connected over Twitter, I knew she was my kinda girl. Self-professed Champaholic, never seen without a glass, and a lover of all things luxurious. Plus, she knows every 80's song ever created. Who actually knows Go West?!? I flew to London a few weeks ago and Charlotte and I had the chance to take on the town. We talked all things bubbly,but I also got to know a little bit more about her company, Bespoke RSVP. When I learned that she had left her corporate gig to go off and follow her passion and launch her own brand, I immediately knew she was even more of a Champagne Girl than I had first realized. I got the chance to ask her some questions and find out more about what makes "Champagne Charlie" tick. Here's to our Champagne Girl of the Week, Charlotte Lynham!



TCD: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

CL: I am an experienced financial & legal specialist; and have worked for a number of prestigious & luxury companies including Christies Auction House, and LVMH/Moet Hennessy UK Ltd.  I am also an Ambassador for Frenchbubbles.co.uk, a unique company that prides itself on offering the best in grower Champagne.

I am a self-confessed foodie, serial Twitter user; like to think myself as a ‘Girl about Town’, ‘Fashionista’ and a ‘Philanthropist' and as such is the Executive Editor for The BespokeBlog which is for members of BespokeRSVP & other sophisticated professionals. Reviews luxury restaurants, haute-couture, art & culture and exclusive travel destinations.

I enjoy good food, fine wine & champagne, socializing with my friends and family and traveling: hoping to be back in the States this year to see friends in NYC and LA.

TCD: What inspired you to launch BespokeRSVP?

CL: I had the idea years ago, but my friend, and business partner contacted me last year as he had a similar idea, we had a few cocktails and BespokeRSVP was born.  We both have worked in the luxury hospitality industry for years, so we spoke to the people we knew and everyone liked our idea, soon the idea grew into a company, then a online magazine, now we are partnered with many companies running events, running our own and also we are branching out to corporate events.  It is a great feeling to know all the hard work is for your own benefit, the results achieved are personal gains as well as helping the company grow.  I hope 2012 is the year of BespokeRSVP.

TCD: How did you go about making the switch from a corporate job to an entrepreneurial lifestyle?

CL: I did not find it that hard, I am a very hard worker so even though as an entrepreneur I don’t have core hours per say I work hard, every day, even the weekends, as I want BespokeRSVP and The BespokeBlog to thrive.  In some ways it is better as I have the freedom to attend meetings, meet clients, and organize events to my own schedule.  When I worked in an office and had to do BespokeRSVP in the evening, which was very tiring and difficult.




TCD: Where are your favorite places to eat & drink in London?

CL: Well where do I start?

To eat: Goodmans of London or Hawksmoor, best steak in town; One-o-One, great seafood; Amaranto at The Four Seasons, fabulous Italian food and amazing wine list; Koffmans at The Berkeley, mouth watering French food; Heinz Beck at The Lansborough, award winning cuisine and The Lawn Bistro, my friend and Non Executive Director of BespokeRSVP, Ollie Couillaud, owns it, soul food!

To drink: Love hotel bars so cocktails and champagne at The Langham, The Connaught, Bar Boulud at The Mandarin, The Lanesborough, Four Seasons Park Lane, The Dorchester, Bonds Bar at Threadneedles, Light Bar at St Martins Lane Hotel, Purple Bar at The Sanderson, Blakes Hotel and Galvin @ Windows Park Lane Hilton.


TCD: Favorite Champagne?

CL: This is a tough question but I like Dom Ruinart, especially the rose, also enjoy Billecart Salmon, Louis Roederer and grower champagnes like those sold by French Bubbles, especially the Lacroix Vintage 2005

TCD: What's your life mantra?

CL: Do something everyday that scares you.
Life is too short to sit back and let it happen, I like to live everyday to the full, I do not like the idea of “what ifs” or “I wish I’d done that”.  The world stops for no man (or woman).
_____________________________________

Charlotte Lynham can be found online as below:

Web: BespokeRSVP Ltd
Blog:  The BespokeBlog
Email: lcl@bespokersvp.com
Twitter: @BespokeRSVP & @TheBespokeBlog and @xCharlieAngelx
Linkedin: BespokeRSVP Ltd
Facebook: BespokeRSVP Ltd & The BespokeBlog

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dom Perignon Giveaway!

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Get ready for your close up!

In a few days I will be launching the official Champagne Diaries video channel on YouTube (YouTube.com/TheChampagneDiaries). I'm so excited to bring this brand to life, but I'm not doing it alone...

That's where you lovely ladies (and gentlemen) come in! I am putting out a call to all Champagne Diaries fans to submit their own short video which will live in the fan section of the channel. And the best part is, one lucky random fan will be chosen to win a bottle of Dom Perignon!Yes, you heard it right!




So what are the parameters of the contest, you might be wondering? I'm not asking that you tap dance, or twirl a baton, or anything like that. While those talents may be fabulous and unique, that's not what this is about. I'd love to see you guys talk about what this blog means to you. How you incorporate Champagne into YOUR life, things you toast to, favorite bubbles to drink - you get the idea. Tell me how you live your most effervescent life. Get creative!

The contest will run from today, January 17th, through January 31st. I'll be uploading all the videos to the channel as they come in, and on February 1st I will pull a random winner and announce the name! I will feature the winning video in a blog that week and also post the winner to Facebook.

Here are some details:

- Videos should be between 1-3 minutes long

- Submissions should be emailed to TheChampagneDiet@gmail.com and include your name, address and contact phone number. You can either send a video file or a link to it.

- By submitting your video, you give permission for us to post it to YouTube.com/TheChampagneDiaries

- Submissions will only be accepted through 1/17/12 - 1/31/12

- Winner will be drawn at random

- Champagne will be shipped directly to winner


Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Cheers!
Cara

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lucky Number 13

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I woke up this morning and realized it was a Friday, and it also happened to be the 13th. This didn't affect me much, aside from the news anchors focusing on all the bad luck that is typically associated with this day. "It's Friday the 13th everyone! Beware!" Facebook and Twitter posts galore all warning everyone of the gloom and doom headed our way. Black cats were just WAITING to cross my path and bring my life to a screeching halt, weren't they?

I was pissed off. Why were people paying SO much attention to such negative energy? I mean, I typically call Fridays "Champagne Fridays", mainly because it's the best day of the week and what's better than Champagne? So I decided to throw all the negativity away and make Friday the 13th my lucky day. I vowed that I would make something good happen today (plus, my horoscope told me there was nothing I couldn't do, so I had to believe it, right? NY Post knows all!)


Photo courtesy of weheartit.com

 I set my mind to a positive frequency and went about my day. I even totally forgot it was Friday the 13th by the time I got to the office. About an hour later, I had one of the most inspiring conversations with a friend which led me down a path of a new business venture that I could not possibly more thrilled about.

So, take that, Friday the 13th! You ain't gonna get in MY way with your witchcraft and scary spells. I just flipped you around and made you into a good luck charm. It's really all in the way we perceive things. I blog about the power of positive (and fabulous) thinking all the time. So go ahead and perceive this to be an amazing day, with an amazing bottle of bubbly awaiting you this evening. You'll be delighted to see just how much more fun things are on this side of the house.

Cheers!
Cara

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday MOETivation: Turning Gym Time into Champagne Time

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I often write about my love/hate relationship with working out. From my adventures in pole dancing to my experiences Spinning to the 80's, I'm always looking for a way to enjoy (read: tolerate) the gym. I am not athletic nor am I skinny, so I need to find creative ways to balance my passion for Parmesan and still be able to zip up my jeans. And for the record, that passion is border line obsession...

My trips to the gym are usually fueled by massive amounts of Starbucks and major pep talks to myself. It takes a village to get me going. Outfit changes, Rocky soundtracks, you name it, I've tried it. I have been known to stare in the mirror and slap my own thighs just to watch them jiggle. Even that doesn't work at times.

But a few weeks ago I got to thinking, so much about life is mind over matter. We really do control the way we see things. That I am a firm believer in. Focusing on the positive attracts more positive, and we are in total control of our own happiness. So why should the way I view working out be any different? Couldn't I just brainwash myself into loving exercise?

I decided I was going to give it a shot.




I vowed to convince myself that going to the gym was like going to the spa. Now don't go rolling your eyes -- I am not insinuating workouts shouldn't be work. The gym should absolutely be a time where you step outside of your comfort zone and push yourself. You can't just go sit in the steam room and sip on a bottle of Moet with a straw and eat chewy chocolate chip cookies (but Jesus Christ that does sound amazing).

Gym time was going to be MY time. "Champagne time", as I like to call it. The precious moments where it's all about you. You don't have to look at your phone, there's nobody asking you for anything, no deadlines and no judgement. It's completely self-indulgent and it's critical to your well-being. The gym was no longer a chore for me, it was my special hour that would produce nothing but good. That time would make me stronger, happier and healthier.

So far, so good. I've been averaging about 4 workouts a week, and I haven't set the gym on fire nor have I broken my own legs to avoid going, so that's a plus! I'm boxing now and it's been amazing. There's nothing like finding a workout you love, and I honestly think that's half the battle.

My Monday MOET-ivation for you this week is to change the way you view exercise and truly think of it as your Champagne time. Find something you enjoy and do it. Treat that time as sacred. You might surprise yourself with how easy it is.

Cheers!
Cara

Thursday, January 5, 2012

POP Champagne Bar Launches The Champagne Diet™ Menu

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I am SO excited to share this news with you guys!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Bob Earhart, one of the owners of POP Champagne Bar in LA reached out to me to tell me how excited he was about The Champagne Diet™. Not only was he totally on board with the concept of living your most effervescent life, he was super excited that he could eat healthy, putting only the best in his body, AND still drink Champagne. As an owner of a Champagne bar who is trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, this was amazing news for him.

Bob loved the idea so much that he decided to launch The Champagne Diet™ menu at POP! Bob worked with his chef to develop an amazing menu that really reflects the true essence of The Champagne Diet. High quality, nutritious foods paired with delicious Champagne. Who could say no to that?



The menu just rolled out this week and I'm thrilled to share it with you guys. It looks delicious! I mean, HELLO? Who wouldn't want to dine this way every night?? Hopefully I'll be hopping on a plane sometime in the very near future to go taste it myself!

If you're in the LA area, be sure to check out POP bar. Tell em The Champagne Diet sent ya! Also be sure to follow Bob's progress as he lives HIS most effervescent life!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Monday MOETivation: Last Night Phil Collins Saved My Life With a Song

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Oh, Spin class. How I long to go sweat in places I have never imagined and breathe in the fumes of others sweating in places they never imagined. There is no feeling quite like the pain you feel in your ass cheeks after being mounted on that bike for an hour, or the aches you get in your wrists and forearms from propping up your body on said bike. But there is also no other class that reshapes your body and burns 4279382039232 calories per session, leaving your face looking emaciated from nearly perspiring to death.

I haven't gone to Spin in (eek) about a year. I think the last time I went was when I was preparing for my wedding, last winter. When I woke up this morning, something came over me and I felt compelled to go. It was 8:45 am, and I was on my first cup of coffee, curled up in my silk  leopard PJ's, squirming at the creepy banter between my local newscasters. It was my fifth day off in a row from work, and though I had been hitting the gym regularly, I felt like I should take advantage of the empty schedule ahead of me and just go power through the class. I looked at my gym's website, saw a class slated to start at 9:30, and immediately slammed my coffee and left the house (don't worry, I changed out of the silk leopard PJ's).

I get to class 15 minutes early, and immediately stake out the best seat in the house. Far enough away from the instructor so I won't get yelled at for sitting when I should be standing, and close enough to the door should I have to bolt outta there if I feel death is imminent. 9:30 arrives faster than I expect, and before you know it, the strobe lights are on and I have mounted the bike of doom, ready to tackle the next hour without suffering from a severe heart attack.

I start pedaling, and I'm totally feeling it. The music is pumping, and I'm not winded - yet. The only distraction was the fact that the instructor is about 4'5 and 90 pounds, and she's cycling so fast she looks like she's about to take flight. Aside from that I think I can handle this without being too distracted of freaked out.

Photo courtesy of weheartit.com



Fast forward 25 minutes later. I am DYING. Actually, dying is an understatement. I am beyond death at this point. I actually don't know how I haven't fallen off the bike, and I keep looking in the mirror envisioning myself slumped over as hot firemen come in and try to revive me. I contemplate leaving. Could I do it? I'm never gonna see this people again. It won't matter. No, don't go, you wimp! Stick it out, bitch. Plus, if you get through this, you'll burn enough calories so you can drink an entire bottle of Champagne tonight.

I keep pedaling and praying to the gods of Spin for something to give me the boost I need to make it through the next 35 minutes. Then all of a sudden, BAM. I hear the first chords of "Easy Lover" by Phil Collins, and immediately I am transformed. If you don't know by now, I am an 80's music FREAK. I love the 80's. LOVE LOVE LOVE. My iPod is comprised of every 80's song you can imagine - from the obscure to the embarrassing to the downright amazing. Hearing a familiar beat literally breathed life into my veins, and suddenly I went from fat girl (who gets sent home on week 1) on The Biggest Loser to a leading competitor on the Tour de France. I'm spinning away, up, down, out of the damn saddle and loving every minute of it. And it wasn't just me - I caught the girl next to me mouthing the words as she cycled, so it was clear this retro pop infusion was just what the doctor ordered.

60 minutes later and I finished the entire workout. Legs shaking, body soaked from sweat, but I did it. I kept thinking what a horrible way to start the New Year by skipping out on my first workout of 2012. I powered through, and that, my friends, is what Monday MOET-ivation is all about.

Now on to pop that bubbly...I earned it, baby. Every last drop.

Cheers!
Cara

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolution for 2012: Live Your Most Effervescent Life!

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“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Photo courtesy of weheartit.com


I was never one for New Year's Eve. In my past life, as I like to call it, New Year's Eve was very sad for me. It was a time to look back and reflect on mistakes; where things went wrong. I thought about who or what I missed, and all the things I didn't get to do. That attitude was reflective of the way I felt about life in general, and it was pretty shitty.

As I've said before, I started living The Champagne Diet lifestyle by accident. I had gotten to the point where I was fed up. Things needed to change for me. I was not going to tolerate the negativity anymore. I wasn't going to tolerate it in my job, my relationships, my friendships, the way I felt about my body, or my eating habits.I was ready.

My first step was drinking Champagne (great way to start, huh?) But I was on a mission to find a low calorie drink that I could enjoy regularly, and bubbles were the perfect option for around 100 calories a glass. I was sold on that alone, but as soon as I really started drinking it, everything changed for me.

I fell in love with everything about Champagne. The sound of a fresh bottle opening was like poetry to me. The swift pop filled me with excitement, and pouring a glass was an experience in itself. Watching the gorgeous golden bubbles tower over my flute and finding a new reason to toast each time I drank it became a ritual. Drinking bubbles made me feel luxurious, beautiful and worthy. I wondered why people didn't drink Champagne all the time. Why were they saving this magical drink for New Year's Eve and birthdays? Why weren't they all indulging in something so wonderful every day? Weren't they worth it? And just like that, The Champagne Diet was born.

Champagne has truly become a metaphor for me. I have made it my priority to live my most effervescent life. To settle for nothing but the best. To truly live a Champagne life. To celebrate everything, no matter how small it may seem. To raise a glass each night and toast to something - anything. To me, life is best lived through rosé colored glasses.

I also found passion in sharing my "sparkling" new ways with all of you. The network we have built on Twitter and Facebook is remarkable to me. I remember when I launched this blog in 2009, I had no concept of where it would take me. I remember saying, "If I could change one person's way of thinking, my job would be done." Now, two years later, with press across the globe from Australia, to India, to the UK, to Italy, I think I may have done just that. There is nothing like touching someone else, and if I have touched any of you, I am eternally grateful for that. I want you all to live the sparkling, Champagne-filled lives you deserve.

Now, here we are, New Year's Eve 2011, and this holiday has become a true celebration for me. It's a chance to reflect back on all of the amazing things we have accomplished over the past 12 months, and really set our minds to achieve all of the goals in front of us in the coming year.It's a chance to learn from the mistakes, and celebrate what we've learned from them. It's a chance to be better.

I don't believe in traditional New Year's resolutions. I think we should make resolutions all year long, whenever we want to change. I don't believe in waiting until December 31st to decide you want to join a gym or stop eating carbs. But I do believe that you should think about the way you want to live your life in 2012. If there are things you want, go get them. You deserve them all. If there is negativity in your life, kick it to the damn curb. Fulfill yourself. Dream, and do. Don't be afraid to fall. Don't be scared of rejection. Only accept the best in your world. Live your most effervescent, Champagne life.

Go get it girls, it's all waiting for you.

With Love,

Cara